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International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. I-17)

Act current to 2022-09-22 and last amended on 2014-07-01. Previous Versions

International Boundary Waters Treaty Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. I-17

An Act respecting the International Joint Commission established under the treaty of January 11, 1909 relating to boundary waters

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act.

  • R.S., c. I-20, s. 1

Marginal note:Treaty in schedule confirmed

 The treaty relating to the boundary waters and to questions arising along the boundary between Canada and the United States made between His Majesty, King Edward VII, and the United States, signed at Washington on January 11, 1909, and the protocol of May 5, 1910, in Schedule 1, are hereby confirmed and sanctioned.

  • R.S., 1985, c. I-17, s. 2
  • 2013, c. 12, s. 2

Marginal note:Laws of Canada and of provinces

 The laws of Canada and of the provinces are hereby amended and altered so as to permit, authorize and sanction the performance of the obligations undertaken by His Majesty in and under the treaty, and so as to sanction, confer and impose the various rights, duties and disabilities intended by the treaty to be conferred or imposed or to exist within Canada.

  • R.S., c. I-20, s. 3

Marginal note:Interference with international waters

  •  (1) Any interference with or diversion from their natural channel of any waters in Canada, which in their natural channels would flow across the boundary between Canada and the United States or into boundary waters, as defined in the treaty, resulting in any injury on the United States side of the boundary, gives the same rights and entitles the injured parties to the same legal remedies as if the injury took place in that part of Canada where the interference or diversion occurs.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to cases existing on January 11, 1909 or to cases expressly covered by special agreement between Her Majesty and the Government of the United States.

  • R.S., c. I-20, s. 4

Marginal note:Federal Court jurisdiction

 The Federal Court has jurisdiction at the suit of any injured party or person who claims under this Act in all cases in which it is sought to enforce or determine as against any person any right or obligation arising or claimed under or by virtue of this Act.

  • R.S., c. I-20, s. 5
  • R.S., c. 10(2nd Supp.), s. 64

Marginal note:Commission may compel attendance of witnesses

 The International Joint Commission, when appointed and constituted pursuant to the treaty, shall have power, when holding joint sessions in Canada, to take evidence on oath and to compel the attendance of witnesses by application to a judge of a superior court of the province in which the session is held, and that judge is hereby authorized and directed to make all orders and issue all processes necessary and appropriate to that end.

  • R.S., c. I-20, s. 6

Marginal note:Salaries of Canadian Commissioners

 The members of the Canadian section of the International Joint Commission shall be paid such salaries as are fixed by the Governor in Council.

  • R.S., c. I-20, s. 7
  • 1976-77, c. 28, s. 19

Marginal note:Secretary and other employees

 A Secretary of the Canadian section of the International Joint Commission and such other officers, clerks and employees as are required for the purposes of this Act may be employed under the Public Service Employment Act.

  • R.S., c. I-20, s. 7

Marginal note:Administration

 This Act shall be administered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

  • R.S., 1985, c. I-17, s. 9
  • 1995, c. 5, s. 25

Licences and Prohibitions

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

 The definitions in this section apply in sections 11 to 42.

analyst

analyst means a person who is designated under section 20.1 to assist an inspector to verify compliance with this Act. (analyste)

boundary waters

boundary waters means boundary waters as defined in the treaty. (eaux limitrophes)

bulk removal

bulk removal means the removal of water from boundary or transboundary waters and the taking of that water, whether it has been treated or not, outside the Canadian portion of the water basin — set out in Schedule 2 — in which the waters are located

  • (a) by any means of diversion, including by pipeline, canal, tunnel, aqueduct or channel; or

  • (b) by any other means by which more than 50 000 L of water are taken outside the water basin per day.

Bulk removal does not include the taking of a manufactured product that contains water, including water and other beverages in bottles or other containers, outside a water basin. (captage massif)

inspector

inspector means a person who is designated under section 20.1 to verify compliance with this Act. (inspecteur)

licence

licence means a licence issued under section 16. (licence)

Minister

Minister means the Minister of Foreign Affairs. (ministre)

non-commercial project

non-commercial project means a project involving bulk removal in which no one is required to pay for the water that is removed. (projet non commercial)

transboundary waters

transboundary waters means those waters that, in their natural channels, flow across the international boundary between Canada and the United States, including those set out in Schedule 3. (eaux transfrontalières)

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1
  • 2013, c. 12, s. 3

Licences

Marginal note:Boundary waters

  •  (1) Except in accordance with a licence, no person shall use, obstruct or divert boundary waters, either temporarily or permanently, in a manner that affects, or is likely to affect, in any way the natural level or flow of the boundary waters on the other side of the international boundary.

  • Marginal note:Exceptions

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the ordinary use of waters for domestic or sanitary purposes, or the exceptions specified in the regulations.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Marginal note:Other waters

  •  (1) Except in accordance with a licence, no person shall construct or maintain, either temporarily or permanently, any remedial or protective work or any dam or other obstruction in waters flowing from boundary waters, or in downstream waters of rivers flowing across the international boundary, the effect of which is or is likely to raise in any way the natural level of waters on the other side of the international boundary.

  • Marginal note:Exceptions

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the exceptions specified in the regulations.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Prohibition

Marginal note:Purpose

  •  (0.1) The purpose of this section is to prevent the risk of environmental harm resulting from bulk removal.

  • Marginal note:Prohibition — removal of boundary waters

    (1) Despite section 11, the bulk removal of boundary waters is prohibited.

  • Marginal note:Prohibition — removal of transboundary waters

    (2) Despite section 12, the bulk removal of transboundary waters is prohibited.

  • Marginal note:Deeming

    (3) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) and the application of the treaty, bulk removal is deemed, given its cumulative effects on boundary waters and on transboundary waters that flow to the United States, to affect the natural level or flow of those waters on the other side of the international boundary.

  • Marginal note:Exceptions

    (4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in respect of boundary waters or transboundary waters that are used

    • (a) in a vehicle, including a vessel, aircraft or train,

      • (i) as ballast,

      • (ii) for the operation of the vehicle, or

      • (iii) for people, animals or goods on or in the vehicle; or

    • (b) in a non-commercial project on a short-term basis for firefighting or humanitarian purposes.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1
  • 2013, c. 12, s. 4

General

Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty

 Sections 11 to 13 are binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Marginal note:Application

 Sections 11, 12 and 13 do not apply in respect of uses, obstructions or diversions in existence immediately before the respective coming into force of those sections, but those sections do apply in respect of such uses, obstructions or diversions if significant changes occur to them after their respective coming into force.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Powers of Minister

Marginal note:Licence

 Subject to the regulations, the Minister may, on application, issue, renew or amend a licence to do any activity referred to in subsection 11(1) or 12(1), subject to any terms or conditions the Minister considers appropriate.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Marginal note:Transfer

 A licence is not transferable except with the consent of the Minister.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Marginal note:Suspension and revocation of licence

  •  (1) The Minister may suspend or revoke a licence whenever the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that the licensee has contravened this Act or a condition of the licence, but the licensee must first be given notice in writing by the Minister of the reasons for the suspension or revocation and a reasonable opportunity to make representations to the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Consent of licensee

    (2) The Minister may also suspend or revoke a licence with the consent of, or on application by, the licensee.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Marginal note:Ministerial orders

  •  (1) If a person contravenes subsection 11(1), 12(1) or 13(1) or (2), the Minister may

    • (a) order the person to remove or alter any obstruction or work to which the contravention relates; or

    • (b) order the person to refrain from proceeding with any construction or other work, or to cease the use or diversion, to which the contravention relates.

  • Marginal note:Powers of Minister

    (2) If the person fails to comply with an order made under paragraph (1)(a) or (b), the Minister may remove or alter anything referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or used in relation to any activity referred to in paragraph (1)(b) or order it to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of Canada.

  • Marginal note:Disposition

    (3) Anything forfeited under subsection (2) may be removed, destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the Minister directs.

  • Marginal note:Costs recoverable

    (4) The Minister’s cost of removing or altering anything under subsection (2) and the costs of and incidental to the removal, destruction or disposition under subsection (3) of anything forfeited, less any sum that may be realized from its disposition, are recoverable by Her Majesty in right of Canada from the person who contravened the order made under subsection (1) as a debt due to Her Majesty in any court of competent jurisdiction.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1
  • 2013, c. 12, s. 5

Marginal note:Agreements with provinces

 The Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into an agreement or arrangement with the government of one or more provinces respecting the activities referred to in sections 11 to 13.

  • 2001, c. 40, s. 1

Administration and Enforcement

Designation

Marginal note:Power to designate

 For the purposes of the administration and enforcement of this Act, the Minister may designate persons or classes of persons to exercise powers in relation to any matter referred to in the designation, including, with the approval of a provincial government, persons or classes of persons who are authorized by that government to exercise powers and carry out functions with respect to bodies of water in the province.

  • 2013, c. 12, s. 6

Powers

Marginal note:Authority to enter

  •  (1) An inspector may, for the purpose of verifying compliance with this Act, enter a place, including a vehicle, in which they have reasonable grounds to believe an object to which this Act applies is located or an activity regulated by this Act is taking place.

  • Marginal note:Powers on entry

    (2) The inspector may, for that purpose,

    • (a) examine anything in the place;

    • (b) use any means of communication in the place or cause it to be used;

    • (c) use any computer system in the place, or cause it to be used, to examine data contained in or available to it;

    • (d) prepare a document, or cause one to be prepared, based on the data;

    • (e) use any copying equipment in the place, or cause it to be used;

    • (f) remove anything from the place for examination or copying;

    • (g) direct any person to put any machinery, vehicle or equipment in the place into operation or to cease operating it;

    • (h) prohibit or limit access to all or part of the place;

    • (i) take samples of anything in the place; and

    • (j) conduct tests on, or take measurements of, anything in the place.

  • Marginal note:Dwelling-house

    (3) If the place is a dwelling-house, the inspector may enter it without the occupant’s consent only under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (4).

  • Marginal note:Authority to issue warrant — dwelling-house

    (4) On ex parte application, a justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing an inspector who is named in it to enter a dwelling-house, subject to any conditions specified in the warrant, if the justice is satisfied by information on oath that

    • (a) the dwelling-house is a place referred to in subsection (1);

    • (b) entry to the dwelling-house is necessary to verify compliance with this Act; and

    • (c) entry was refused by the occupant or there are reasonable grounds to believe that entry will be refused or that consent to entry cannot be obtained from the occupant.

  • Marginal note:Use of force

    (5) In executing a warrant to enter a dwelling-house, an inspector may use force only if the use of force has been specifically authorized in the warrant and the inspector is accompanied by a peace officer.

  • Marginal note:Authority to issue warrant — non-dwelling-houses

    (6) On ex parte application, a justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing an inspector who is named in it to enter a place other than a dwelling-house, subject to any conditions specified in the warrant, if the justice is satisfied by information on oath that

    • (a) the place is a place referred to in subsection (1);

    • (b) entry to the place is necessary to verify compliance with this Act;

    • (c) entry was refused by the occupant or there are reasonable grounds to believe that entry will be refused, that consent to entry cannot be obtained from the occupant, that entry cannot be effected without the use of force or that the place is abandoned; and

    • (d) all reasonable attempts were made to notify the owner, operator or person in charge of the place.

  • Marginal note:Waiving notice

    (7) The justice may waive the requirement to give notice under paragraph (6)(d) if he or she is satisfied that attempts to give the notice would be unsuccessful because the owner, operator or person in charge is absent from the justice’s jurisdiction or that it is not in the public interest to give the notice.

  • Marginal note:Stopping and detaining vehicles

    (8) For the purpose of verifying compliance with this Act, an inspector may, at any reasonable time, direct that any vehicle be stopped — or be moved, by the route and in the manner that they specify, to a specified place — and they may, for a reasonable time, detain that vehicle.

  • 2013, c. 12, s. 6
 
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